Tuesday, February 28, 2012

more of Frank's genius

"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

Teach a man to squeegie the shower doors, and you've got one happy mama.
(You can quote me on that.)

Mama loves you Frankie-boy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

diaper bags.

I always felt that carrying a diaper bag on my shoulder made me feel...well, younger. Despite the fact that I'm pushing 40 this year, somehow a diaper bag helped me relate to those new mommas...first-timer, 20 somethings. Never mind that I have 10 others out of diapers by now. Still. Diaper bag in my mind helps me feel well, younger.
Younger that is, until I'm toting it (and all 11 kids) to my 12 year old's rockin girl-band concert ("Chatterbox" LIVE on stage at the New Bremen bowling alley!)

It felt wrong to walk out the door with all the kids in tow and say "Alice, don't forget your guitar. John, I've got the diaper bag."

My first "rock concert" with a diaper bag. Seriously. Crazy. And feelin well, old.

This is NOT how we geared up for Van Halen in the early 90's.

Here's Alice and her band-mates prior to taking the stage...
And the girls rockin' the house...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

(a little post-Ashes humor.)

Today little Annie broke thru the plastic barrier that is separating our kitchen from the drywall mud/dust renovation beyond. She delighted in the fact that I hollared out her name, and giggled over her shoulder at me as I proceeded to make chase. I caught her seconds too late...just after she dove into the piles of dust and proceeded to make dust-angels on her belly. She laughed outloud then as she rolled over onto her back with a toe-point and an arched back...quite pleased with her efforts. I couldn't help but laugh out loud too...until she started licking the dust off the floor making a paste on her tongue. Ewwww....

I should have just taken her to mass with us for ashes on her forehead.

Seriously Anne.

date night.

John and I managed to sneak out of the house unattended last evening. What a rare treat. Times are changing, and kids are growing so that we're able to get out for brief intervals for things that require the both of us. (We rarely go on "dates," these brief outings are usually matters of practicality.)
This time was no different. The school kids had all attended mass in the morning with their classmates, leaving John and I the only ones needing to get to church yet. We left a few minutes early and stopped by our local decorating store to choose flooring for the "apartment" as well. (*Side note: we're not sure if/when we'll ever stop calling that new space "the apartment." Hopefully someday it will be "family room"...but not yet...it doesn't sound right, yet.)
Anyhow, in just 20 minutes we had linoleum and carpeting chosen, thanks to a really great saleslady who showed us just the right stuff...durable, stain-resistant, and in the perfect shade of "dirt." Oh, and budget-friendly. Sweet. Sign us up.

We made it to mass just in time to find a seat...the place was packed. Awesome!

What a gift it is to attend mass as a couple. Truly a gift. Don't get me wrong...I love when our entire family sits together, over-filling an entire pew...all of us present for the Lord. But sitting with John, just the two of us...well, it's a beautiful reminder of how it all started. I couldn't help but think of our early years when we were dating, and first married, and had all sorts of dreams and plans and hopes mapped out for our future. And we'd bring them to God in prayer. And here we were, holding hands at mass again...just the two of us...no eye-rolling, or pinching or flicking or asking "how many more songs?" or climbing over pews (Johns's so well behaved when the kids aren't around.) This time with the knowledge and understanding of God's total love, and mercy, and providence. And how when we make room for him as the center of our marriage covenant, at the center of our families, first in our hearts...everything else falls into line. Maybe not as we'd mapped out...but certainly far greater than anything we could have hoped for. All is good and right.
It was a perfect way to start Lent I think. With that reminder to keep Christ at the center. To take time to look away for a moment at what we think we want/need, and reflect and listen to what Christ may be calling us to...first and foremost a closer relationship with Him.

A perfect date-night indeed.

Oh, and I'm pretty stoked about the new flooring too. It could be installed as early as next week already!! Woohooo! God is gooooood.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes, Ashes.

We all fall down...this time, in prayer.
I was pleasantly surprised when some of the kids asked if we could restart family rosary times for Lent. Awesome! (and here, I thought they HATED family rosary...what with the occasional eye-rolling and moaning, it was hard to tell.)

But they asked, and so they shall recieve. Wednesdays and Sundays-family rosary. Fridays-Way of the Cross.

Anyways, as always, my kids never cease to amaze/inspire me. When I just stop for a minute thinking I got it all figured out, and listen to their little-God-like voices.
Just get over yourself Jamie.

It's a new day...

I've posted this before, but I still love it's simple reminder of self-transformation at Lent...and always...

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ in them.
Fast from wanting
more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on postitives.
Fast from stress; feast on
Fast from anger; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth
Fast from
discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
from fighting; feast on peace.
~Adapted from a Lenten prayer by
William Arthur Ward in Take Out, Family Faith on the Go

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday

We're contemplating the journey called Lent, here.

That is, we're eating cake, and watching tv, and sucking up all the things we plan to do without for the next 40 days. It's like a last-minute "fix" before the long haul.

Tomorrow over breakfast we'll pen a list of final Lenten promises. Not so much to dwell in it, but so that I can keep track...of who can eat today's leftover chocolate cake, and who can have computer time, etc. Far be it for me to tempt anyone into failure. Heaven's no.

The kids asked me this evening what I'm "giving up." I'm still not sure. God seems to be telling me to give up "holding in." I've been a bottled up mess of thoughts and stories and ideas...revelations and opportunities, and all sorts of just "stuff" filling up my head. I've been very restless lately, and feeling too busy to do any sort of writing. But these last days, it's as if I can't hold it in anymore, and God seems to be telling me just to let it go.
So one of my Lenten commitments is to quit holding back. To write every day, even if it seems trivial. I feel a physical~spiritual connectedness to each one of you...we need each other...that is, I need you all. God knows it, and he's encouraging me to reach out...to accept each of you, individually and as a whole, and the outstretched hand you offer each time you check in to read about my little corner of the world. He reminds me that none of us are in this alone. None of us are perfect. None of us are meant to be super-woman, super-mom, super-anything. Just meant to be faithful. And to hold each other up.
So to start these 40 days, I commit to be faithful. To continue to write. To share and to know that you're out there, lifting me up.
God is so good.
Prayers being offered that we may all have a transformative Lent...one that brings each of us closer to Jesus and the supreme love He has for each one of us.

And God was speaking outloud through little John tonight. We were discussing ways he could earn money to donate to the kids' Parish Lenten Mission project. Monies are being collected to help some Precious Blood Priests in Chicago who have set up a safe house for kids there. They're trying to raise money for a van to help transport kids safely through the bad neighborhoods.
Anyhow, John mumbled..."Mom, I"m gonna find ways to surprise you over these next 40 days...to earn the money. It would just be awesome to get enough so they could buy 2 vans!"

Yes, John. It would be awesome. And that's exactly how God must think...full of surprises, and better than we could expect/imagine.

Blessings to you all this Lenten season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What the world needs now...

is love, sweet love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

you can imagine their surprise

Scissors and Sharpie markers...two things that are pretty much under lock and key here. Or at least require a signed permission slip and 2 forms of i.d.

There have been too many near misses...haircuts, marked furniture, injury, etc.

You can imagine their surprise then, when I handed over a whole box of Sharpies and crayons and told them to "have at it."

The kitchen wall was a free-for-all.

And they handled it beautifully.

Couldn't be prouder of their team work to pull this off...

Two more days till this wall disappears forever...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I love Dory.

"just keep swimmin, just keep swimmin, swimmin, swimmin."

It's my montra these days.

In this crazy sea of every-day-life, where the rivers of home renovations and prior commitments converge...I'll just keep swimmin.
Today I find myself wearing yoga pants that I slept in last night. Splash of deoderant, a clean shirt and some water to tame the bed-head and I'm good. It's the best I can muster this morning...day three of work-crews here by 7:30 am. Seriously 7:30. I'm usually in pj's well past 10. I need to focus my energy to answer such daunting questions as "Mom, where's my Ninjago-Lego dude?" and "Mom, can I have gum?" (before breakfast?!) Those are the easy ones...the questions my brain has been fielding for a dozen years now. There are new questions these days though...stumpers...questions that have me scratching my head in wonder...like, "How many recessed lights would you like in the family room?" and "Where would you like the switches for those?" or "What color vanity top would you like in your bathroom?" Seriouly...I went through a whole box of marble chip samples only to learn that NONE of them have mint green flecks?! How is this progress?! Nobody's thought to create a bathroom vanity that camoflauges toothpaste spittings?! Oi. Guess we'll go with beige. Whatever. As for switches...a single master switch near my bed would be fine...ON in the morning, OFF at night. Really...nobody else bothers with turning lights off in this house anyway...it looks like a party in every room at least 10 hours of every day.
These questions should not be difficult. Really. But they are. Just more wonderful things to think about at night as I lie in bed trying to solve the problems of my little world. Not really problems at all when I remember to thank God for these blessings, and realize just how truly good he's been to us here. No room for complaints, or concerns. It will all come together in the end, I know.
Truth is, it's quite exciting...VERY exciting to see the progress at the end of each day. Also exciting to realize I likely won't clean house for several weeks...it's just not worth trying to keep up with all that dust. No house-cleaning=more play time, more reading time, more puzzle time, more time to find that darn Ninjago-Lego dude, and fold that crazy laundry. Yes. Life goes on.
And I'll just keep swimmin.